Monday, March 4, 2013

VR Track Work

Hi All,

In between hammering away on the J Class kits, I regulalry meet up with some other 'proto' modellers that reside in and around Vancouver. We've had quite a few sessions at my place, with Andrew being the most regular attendee (cheers, mate).

We've made some steady progress on my layout, Sutton Grange, which is now in it's third version (previous baseboards construction has just not been up to scratch).

I ordered some sleeper from Kappler Scale Lumber, located just over the boarder in Washington State, USA. Kapler offer a 'bespoke' service, which I took them up on and ordered several thousand standard and longer switch ties/sleepers, all to correct VR scale dimensions. Erik, at Kappler did a great job!

As far as I'm concerned, track work is also a model. So when it comes to matters of weathering and ballasting of track, I can spend hours reviewing prototype photos and modelling approaches to faithfully portray real track - actually, real VR track. Anal? Absolutely.

However, I recently came a cross a blog site by USA-based Proto48 modeller, Jim Lincoln. Jim's blog, The Delaware Lackawanna in Proto48, is well worth a look. Indeed, it was this post and this one that caught my eye.

Following some of Jim's tips and ideas, sleepers/ties were laid, distressed with a Dremal stainless steel brush, and weathered using cheap thinned acrylic paints to achieve a brown, blood-red colour so often observed on VR track from the 1960's and 1970's. Colours include burnt umber, burnt sienna, raw umber etc, while white chinagraph pencils were used to give a hint of grey weathering here and there (followed by more thinned paints to tone it down). After adding some ME code 55 track, it's starting to look the part. (Note that the track hardware is yet to be installed.)

Next, how to portray 'typical' VR branch line ballast...

Jules 




 


 

 



14 comments:

Shelton D'Cruz said...

beautiful track work Julian. May I ask what are the dimensions of the sleepers that you went with when placing the order for the sleepers?
Thanks
Shelton

Julian Watson said...

Hi Shelton,

Thanks for the kind words, but it was Jim Lincoln's efforts that inspired and showed the way!

After reviewing the details at Mark Bau's web site, I made the following order to Kappler:

•Track Ties: scale size of 9' x 10" x 6" (actual size of 1.241" x 0.115" x 0.068")

•Switch Timbers/Ties: scale size of 16' x 10" x 6" (actual size of 2.207" x 0.115" x 0.068").

It should be noted that I made the depth a little more than the prototype, as all the sleepers/ties need to be sanded down to the same datum before laying rail.

Regards,

Julian

Matthew Walker said...

Julian,

One thing to keep in mind is that the F diagrams prepared from the 1920's onwards were designed for new work and wholesale replacement. Existing lines and especially yards were likely not up to those standards and they may have lasted a long time.

Matthew

Julian Watson said...

Hi Matthew,

These tracks were laid last month, so I should be okay then...?

Seriously, thanks for your feedback – it’s an issue that I’ve already afforded some thought to. Given the supposed use of the branch line, it’s (environmental) location, and it being set in the mid to late 1970’s, I’ve assumed that all, or most of the early sleepers would have been replaced, or deteriorated beyond reasonable recognition.

Of course, photos of VR branch line yards from the late 1970’s, mock us both. Of the yards that were still in use, it appears that many of the sleepers were obscured (partially, or completely) by ballast/soil/ash etc.

Cheers,

Julian

Shelton D'Cruz said...

Hi Julian
Was wondering what adhesive you use to secure the rail to the ties/sleepers? Obviously for the copper sleepers one would solder the rails to the ties.
Thanks
Shelton

Julian Watson said...

Hi Shelton,

I used Pliobond contact adhesive, which I purchased in Australia. Although, I cannot recall now who from. It's great stuff, as it is activated (and can be re-activated) with heat, using a soldering iron. (I've even heard of some using a clothes iron...)

Assuming that it can be mailed internationally, Fast Tracks (Canada) sell it;

http://www.handlaidtrack.com/Pliobond-Industrial-Contact-Cement-p/sp-0001.htm

Whomever you buy it from, be sure to get the 'micro dispensing tip', as outlined in the above Fast Track link.

Cheers,

Julian

Tom R. said...

Hi Julian,

From your blog post and comments above are you saying that you are not using a PC sleeper but relying on the pliobond alone?

Its hard to see them in your photos if you are.

Are you able to post a plan of Sutton Grange or its overall dimensions or have I missed that already?

Regards and thanks,

Tom R.

Damian said...

Hi Julian,
Very nice work there. I reckon you have nailed the tones/colour of the sleepers.
Damian

Julian Watson said...

Hi Tom,

The rail is glued to the sleepers with Pliobond, which think is (mechanically) adequate. Nonetheless, I will be using the scale spikes from Andy Reichert's Proto87 store (For looks if nothing else). I do use PC sleepers at the end of the boards for added insurance.

As for Sutton Grange, it's a real area (just outside of Castlemaine) but never had a broad gauge VR railway line. I'm assuming that one was snuck in during the 'Octopus Policy' to service local grain and livestock production.

Hi Damian,

Thanks for that. And it’s not at all difficult. However, I think it’s the distressing of the sleepers (in this case with a Dermel wire brush) that helps.

Julian

Tom R. said...

Julian,

Thanks for your response.

Just to clarify my question about 'Sutton Grange' How long is you layout, It seems to be modular from what I recall?, what is the hypothetical track plan for this real location? Just trying to get an idea of how much track you are laying using this method.

Regards,

Tom.

Julian Watson said...

Hi Tom,

Sorry for misunderstanding your question.

The layout will be composed of seven 4' x 2' modules, with one being a transverser. Therefore, the 'viewable' part of the layout will be 24' in length, which is quite long for a very simple, 'prototypical' VR branch line terminus yard.

However, I want to be as faithful as I can to the prototype, with ~7.4 turnouts and a decent head shunt and loops.

Unlike many UK branch line yards, the VR often had a lot of space - and used it.

Cheers,

Julian


Shelton D'Cruz said...

Hi Julian
Do you have a track plan of your layout?
Also how will you achieve a balanced operation/theme to keep you interested for a long time?

Shelton

Julian Watson said...

Hi Shelton,

I've provided an updated the post (see above), as an image tells 1000 words etc.

Cattle and general goods will be the main stay. Although, I'm also considering a moderate to small grain silo (ala Shelbourne yard, which was once serviced from Maldon).

We'll see.

Julian

malcolm aldridge said...

G'Day Julian are you going to put a few steel sleepers as the Springhurst to wahgunyah had some to stop the white ants etc Regards narimga